Take your own Carl De Keyzer-picture using Google Maps (or download it for free)


Putting your most recent work immediately on the Internet, and making it available as a free download? Call it a bold move for an acclaimed photographer such as Carl De Keyzer (50), the Belgian artist who’s been a member of the renowned Magnum-bureau for almost 20 years. He even links each picture in his new project ‘Moments before the flood’  to Google Earth and Google Maps. So if you wish, you can go and try to make the exact same picture yourself.

‘When a photographer wants to show me his work, I already know before that person opens his box, what is going to be inside it. I see somebody’s hands and body language and know what sort of photographer he or she is.’  I once had the pleasure of interviewing Carl De Keyzer, and have since then become a fan of his work. Bright, funny, down-to-earth, and a man with lots of stories to tell.

While S.M.A.K. , the museum of contemporary art in Ghent, is still showing his ‘Trinity’-project (it’s on until September 6, don’t miss it), De Keyzer embarks already on a new adventure.  For ‘Moments before the flood’  he will be travelling the coasts of Europe for four years (four months a year). With that project he wants to raise the question if Europe is prepared for the possible dramatic rise of the sea level, and to what extent these efforts will eventually prove futile.

Artistically, it’s also a new adventure for De Keyzer, as he promises to go and flirt with beauty for the first time in his career. ‘My whole oeuvre is characterised by distrust when it comes to aesthetics’, De Keyzer says. ‘Beauty for the sake of it has always made me wary’, he writes in the mission statement you’ll find here.

The first pictures De Keyzer took, in Holland and the U.K., are already on the website (created by group94 from Ghent). And this is where ‘Moments before the flood’becomes really interesting. One can not only take a look at his shots (and zoom in on them), you can also download them to Facebook or save them as desktop background. And De Keyzer provides a link for each picture to Google Earth and Google Maps as well. You can even mail a suggestion if you know of a nice spot you want De Keyzer to travel to.

They’re still working on the website, but De Keyzer really wants all of his new pictures to be available as a free, high quality download. It’s his audacious and interesting way of dealing with the problems professional photographers are facing these days, as nobody wants to pay for good photography anymore. He and his colleagues from the legendary Magnum-bureau have once again to try and reposition themselves in this ever changing world.

(photo credit: Carl De Keyzer, ‘Angle’, Great Britain, 2009-07-13)


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